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Indian Express

19- January-2024

1. Compete to thrive

Topic: GS2 – PolityStatutory Bodies 
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of the role of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and its endeavors in promoting fair competition, addressing challenges in the digital economy, and ensuring consumer welfare. 
Context:
  • A transformative epoch marked by fast technology developments and worldwide economic shifts is set in motion by the Amrit Kaal.
  • In order to successfully navigate the complicated developments of this era, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is essential.
  • The digital revolution, new business models, and global interconnection define the contemporary economic landscape as India moves from a closed economy to a global market player.
CCI’s Historical Role in Promoting Fair Competition:
  • India’s economic path since independence has been characterised by a shift to a global market.
  • The chairperson highlights that CCI has been leading the charge in fostering fair competition and putting a stop to anti-competitive behaviour.
  • By using both lobbying and enforcement tactics, the organisation hopes to safeguard consumer interests while promoting an environment that is conducive to innovation.
CCI’s Broad Mandate and Oversight Mechanisms:
  • As part of its extensive mandate, CCI is tasked with eradicating anti-competitive behaviours, fostering and maintaining competition, safeguarding consumer interests, and maintaining trade freedom.
  • In order to stop the exploitation of its position, the organisation looks into and takes action against collusive tactics, anti-competitive agreements, and the behaviour of dominating companies.
  • Careful inspection is required during the evaluation process of mergers and acquisitions in order to prevent undue market dominance.
Balancing Growth and Fair Competition:
  • The mission of CCI is to prohibit practices that can result in unjust market domination while maintaining a balance between allowing companies to expand and consolidate.
  • The organisation offers viewpoints on policy issues impacting competition and works to inform stakeholders on the advantages of a competitive environment.
  • By guaranteeing reasonable prices, high-quality goods, and a wide range of options in the market, CCI protects the interests of consumers.
Addressing Challenges in the Digital Economy:
  • Some tech firms control a large portion of the digital economy, which poses special concerns.
  • By closely examining activities such as predatory pricing, exclusive agreements, and data monopolisation, CCI aims to prevent the stifling of competition and innovation.
  • In order to stay up with technology advancements, the organisation takes a diverse approach that includes international cooperation, lobbying, and regulation.
Continuous Evolution of Regulatory Frameworks:
  • CCI acknowledges that regulatory frameworks must constantly change to keep up with the dynamism of the industry.
  • In order to stay strong and efficient in fostering fair competition in the digital era, the organisation changes rules, holds discussions with stakeholders, and absorbs knowledge from worldwide best practices.
Consumer-Centric Approach and Collaborative Efforts:
  • The consumer is at the centre of CCI’s efforts, guaranteeing access to options at reasonable costs.
  • In order to provide a comprehensive regulatory environment, the institution works with other regulatory bodies, governmental organisations, and international organisations.
  • This cooperative strategy seeks to ensure efficient enforcement, harmonise regulations, and exchange knowledge.
Future Focus and Commitment:
  • In the future, CCI wants to strengthen the adaptability and resilience of regulatory procedures.
  • To maintain healthy and equitable competition, the organisation strives to be proactive in spotting any market disruptions and quick to act upon them.
  • Important components of CCI’s approach include funding research, developing knowledge of emerging markets, and utilising technology to enforce laws effectively. 
Conclusion:
  • In honour of India’s 75th anniversary of independence, CCI reiterates its dedication to guiding the country’s economic development towards a sustainable, inclusive, and competitive future.
  • The organisation is committed to playing a crucial part in creating a market environment that fosters innovation, fosters competition, and protects consumer welfare. It sees enormous opportunities in the path ahead. 
PYQ: Discuss the role of the Competition Commission of India in containing the abuse of dominant position by the Multi-National Corporations in India. Refer to the recent decisions. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2023)
Practice Question: Evaluate the role of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in promoting fair competition, addressing challenges in the digital economy, and safeguarding consumer interests. (200 words/12.5 m)

2. Young and struggling

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice- Education 

This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of educational policy and learning challenges in India.

Context:
  • Significant policy changes have been brought about by the core literacy and numeracy discussions that have dominated Indian educational discourse over the past 20 years.
  • The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the Right to Education (RTE) Act have had a significant impact on how education is implemented.
  • The age range of 14 to 18 is the subject of the ASER 2023 survey, which sheds insight on the existing state of affairs and difficulties encountered by this understudied demographic.

Enrolment Trends and Transition Rates:

·      According to data, there is a nearly universal enrollment rate for elementary schools, with 88.81% of students moving from Std VIII to Std IX.

·      But when demand mounts on both individuals and institutions, there is more competitiveness in the classroom, more coaching, and financial strain on families.

·      Even though there are more young people attending school, there are issues that need to be addressed because of these increased demands.

Challenges in Secondary Education:

  • According to ASER 2023 statistics, a majority of youth (aged 14-18) in the surveyed rural districts, specifically over 85%, are enrolled in an educational institution.
  • This figure is consistent with the national objective of achieving universal secondary enrolment.
  • But this improvement is not without its problems, since parents with low levels of education want the best for their kids, which leads to increasing competitiveness, a coaching culture, and higher costs.

Examination Pressure and NEP 2020:

  • NEP 2020 prioritises rigorous monitoring, attendance, and learning levels in order to reach its goal of 100% secondary school enrolment.
  • It suggests exam flexibility and modifications to lessen the strain on pupils. In order to strike a balance between expansion and preventing market dominance, the education system gains time to prepare students for future difficulties by promoting longer enrollment durations.
  • Learning Challenges and ASER Trends:
  • Over time, middle school students’ learning pathways have stayed largely unchanged.
  • ASER data from 2014 to 2022 shows that fundamental learning levels (Std V–VIII) have not improved significantly.
  • According to ASER 2023, 45% of young people in the 14–18 age range are proficient in fundamental maths, highlighting the urgent need for an all-encompassing plan to raise learning outcomes in upper primary grades.

NEP 2020 and Learning Improvement:

  • The focus placed by NEP 2020 on fundamental literacy and numeracy is critical for fostering the development of critical abilities in young children.
  • With a focus on early grades, the government’s NIPUN Bharat mission seeks to execute programmes for accomplishing this objective.
  • However, ASER 2023 data reveals that a substantial part of teenagers in the 14–18 age range lack basic literacy and numeracy skills, necessitating the implementation of a comprehensive strategy for upper primary grades.

Conclusion:

  • Although India has made progress towards attaining universal elementary education, difficulties still exist in upper primary and secondary education.
  • A framework for tackling these issues is offered by NEP 2020, which places a strong emphasis on examination reforms and fundamental skills.
  • To maintain equitable and resilient growth in the changing educational context, the secret is to execute solutions effectively, monitor them continuously, and adjust them as needed.
PYQ: National Education Policy 2020 is in conformity with the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient education system in India. Critically examine the statement. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2020)
Practice Question: Discuss the key provisions of NEP 2020 and their potential to address the identified challenges in elementary and middle school education. (150 words/10 m)

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